Time to luxuriate in crème brûlée on National Crème Brûlée Day.
There’s a reason why crème brûlée is a classic dessert loved by many—it’s a luscious, creamy custard with a delightful caramelized sugar top that crackles under the touch of your spoon.
If you’ve never tried this heavenly treat or want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll explore what makes crème brûlée so special, including a mouthwatering recipe, three delectable varieties, three ways to achieve that perfect burnt top crust, and tips on knowing if your crème brûlée is up to par.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Extra granulated sugar for caramelizing
- Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt until smooth and pale.
- Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup or pitcher.
- Divide the custard among ramekins or small oven-safe dishes.
- Place the ramekins in a baking dish, fill it with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins (this creates a water bath), and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set but still slightly jiggly in the center.
- Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar on top of each custard. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it forms a golden-brown crust.
Varieties to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
- Fruit-Infused Crème Brûlée
Experiment with your favorite fruits! Before baking the custard, add slices of fresh berries, caramelized apples, or roasted peaches. The fruity twist adds a burst of flavor to the creamy base.
- Chocolate Crème Brûlée
Add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the warm cream mixture before combining it with the egg yolks. The result is a divine, velvety chocolate custard with that signature burnt sugar topping.
- Lemon Lavender Crème Brûlée
Infuse the warm cream with dried lavender buds and a strip of lemon zest. The delicate floral and citrus notes complement the custard beautifully.
Getting Perfect Burnt Top Crust
- The Torch Method
Use a kitchen torch to evenly caramelize the sugar on top. Move the flame in a circular motion to avoid concentrated heat in one spot.
- The Broiler Method
If you don’t have a torch, place the custard ramekins under a preheated broiler for a few minutes until the sugar caramelizes. Keep a close eye to prevent burning.
- The Searzall Attachment
For torch enthusiasts, the Searzall attachment diffuses the flame and provides an even, professional finish.
How to Know if Your Crème Brûlée is Perfect
The custard should be smooth, creamy, and slightly jiggly in the center. Avoid overcooking to prevent a grainy texture.
- Caramelized Sugar
The top crust should be evenly caramelized, forming a crunchy, golden-brown layer that cracks with a satisfying tap.
- Flavor Harmony
A well-made crème brûlée should balance the richness of the custard with the sweetness of the caramelized sugar, creating a heavenly flavor combination.
Now that you have the inside scoop on National Crème Brûlée Day, why not give it a try? Whip up your favorite variation, enjoy the crunchy caramelized top, and savor the velvety, creamy goodness beneath. It’s an elegant dessert experience that’s sure to delight your taste buds and impress your guests.
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